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OT: wife wants a bass


Jeff_D_in_MD

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My wife would like to learn to play bass (she already has experience on mandolin & ukulele). She wants me to get her an electric bass for her upcoming birthday. I am glad to do so but don't know anything about good makes & models. I would like to get something reasonably priced but not a crappy toy, on the lighter side for comfortable playing by a woman, and real wood appearance rather than black, hot pink, flames, etc.

 

Anybody on this forum know anything about basses?

 

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I second the MIM jazz bass recommendation. If you're willing to spend a little more, Fender had a line called "Precision Lyte"

that has a light weight 7/8 size body, jazz neck, and active pick-up's. The Lyte sound great and plays great too. I don't think the Lyte is in production, but they can be had at the on-line auction for about $400 (or less). The "Lyte" is so much lighter than a regular Precision and I think that alone makes it a good possible choice for a female player. Don

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Just my 2 cents, you can find used Warwick Corvettes from 300 to 500$, really bright and thick sound that really stands out for funky stuff/slappin', i'd choose this over a mexican fender BUT I third the Jazz Bass recommendation, they're good enough for the price, specially the "Lyte" which was mentioned for it's lightness and having active pick-ups, you can't go wrong.

 

There's also the Epiphone Thunderbird, low price, great for rock, maybe not what she wants. The Ibanez SRX500 is not bad for a beginner, but i'd choose any fender over it. Now if you want to spend a little more, you might be lucky and find either Used Tobias or Music man's for 500 to 900$ in your area.

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Another thought: something a little outside the norm would be a Beatle-style bass. If you want her to have an all purpose bass (my first suggestion), this definitely isn't it. Very light weight, doesn't sound anything like a Jazz or Precision bass. I like the vibe. Hofner makes a low price Asian-produced version of their original design and there are several others renditions (ex Epiphone). I have no idea how good/bad these are.

 

Macca still plays his '62 (which may/may not be this one):

http://www.feelnumb.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/hofner.jpg

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Be thinking about a good amp too - there are some very good lightweight ones nowadays.

 

I still play some bass, well satisfied with my Epi Les Paul bass into an older Trace Elliot head and cabinets.

 

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Consider the scale of the neck. A fender jazz or precision has a full scale, which might be a bit of a stretch if your wife has small hands.

 

My bud has a Fender Mustang bass at his studio which has a medium scale, sounds good, is fairly inexpensive, and is easy to play.

Moe

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I still have Hofner 500/1 (Beatle Bass) kicking around....these are limited in sound but can be great fun to play. The Hofner has a small scale neck, is light as a feather, & can be heard without an amp (not loud, but enough for solo practice) whereas most solid body basses need to be plugged in to be heard. Limited range of music though. I can't speak to the lower end Hofner series; mine is early 90's German made(Vintage '62/'63 precursor) and is quite well built. I also have MIM Jazz (fretless); nice enough but is a long scale neck as mentioned in previous post.
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No offense to my KC brothers, but wouldn't you get a wider variety of responses in the Lowdown?

 

+1

 

While over there, give a good idea of budget. Do you have an amp or something for her to pay through?

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Consider the scale of the neck. A fender jazz or precision has a full scale, which might be a bit of a stretch if your wife has small hands.

 

A few years I was looking at a bass for my daughter. If you'd like to start a ruckus, ask on the bass forum about shorter scale basses.

 

:laugh:

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I briefly had a Fender Mustang bass back in the 80's. The short scale is indeed easier to fret, but I didn't get the kind of tone that I wanted. Not saying that they are all that way, but it was kind of like the bass on a real small baby grand piano.

 

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Find a good condition used Fender "made in Mexico" (MIM) 4 string Jazz Bass. You can't beat them for value. Bought one for my daughter and I've enjoyed playing it.

 

The quality of the Fender MIM bass is all over the map. FWIW I second the Warwick mention.

 

If she wants the Fender bass-ish look and a P-bass sound, but want quality at a lower price, I suggest locating a Fernandes, something like this eBay offering.

 

I have one like this, put flat wounds on it, put some foam under the strings near the bridge, and it sounds funky! (Think--James Jamerson..)

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Don't laugh, but the new Squier short-scale Jaguars sound great, look great, and play great, and are light weight, for about $200 new.

 

I am picking up one for my kids next payday.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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+1 on the short scale Squier! Also had good luck with a 3/4

Johnson P-style that sounds great and feels goods. Since she into

uke's that new uke bass with rubber strings sounds like an upright believe it or not...

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Thanks for all the input. I'd rather not try to shop for a used bass because I lack both the knowledge and the time. Would prefer to spend less than $400-500, because I don't know whether my wife will pursue this actively or not.

 

That Squier Jaguar short-scale seems like it might be just the ticket--light, smaller and not too expensive.

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FOR SALE: Nord Electro 2-61.

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RockBass by Warwick are also great starter basses, though I doubt they have a short scale one. These are basses made low cost in China from designs by Warwick, and are very good values.

 

I don't think it really takes a big hand to play bass, even on a full-scale neck. But the shorter scale would make learning easier, with a small compromise in tone. If her hands are particularly small it's probably a good idea.

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I have a MIM Jazz, and I've test driven a few Squier Jags, no issues that I've seen so far.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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I've heard of quality control issues in the MIM Jazz basses, and with the Squiers in general. Anyone hear of this?

For the $375 I paid new 4-5 years ago, the MIM Jazz in my house has very good fit/Agave Blue finish, straight neck, and sounds like a typical J bass. Would be better yet with an upgrade to noiseless pickups and active electronics.

 

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The Squier Jaguar is AMAZING!!!!!

 

I bought mine when it first came out. I've seen a couple in stores since then that weren't as good, so either it's a case of "each instrument is different" (not unexpected) or they dropped the quality after initial release. Try before you buy.

 

The jazz neck works better for people with small hands (such as myself) than most precision necks do. But there's no reason to assume gender differentiation; people come in all sizes and hand and finger size isn't always directly correlated anyway.

 

Nevertheless this is my recommendation if you want a comfortable well-balanced instrument that is versatile and has a fast neck. Everyone who tries this bass falls instantly in love with the neck. I don't know what they did, but this is my favourite Fender neck right now. It's also beautifully inlaid.

 

Due to the combination of Jazz Bridge and Precision Neck pickups and separate tone/volume controls, you can really dial in a lot of sounds with this bass. I mostly use it for Elvis, 50's/60's rock, 60's soul, 70's soul, and slap/pop. But it sounds good for jazz as well, and does well enough in any genre or style.

 

This is the most comfortable neck of ALL of my basses, but my favourite bass is still my Dingwall with the slanted Novax fret system. Nevertheless that is a modified 5-string Jazz neck design. My most comfortable five string ever, but a four-string is almost always quicker and more comfortable, if you don't need the extra range. And most starting players will do fine with 4 strings.

 

It's always good to have a 4-string handy anyway. Once you start adding neck width, other variables change. It is for this reason that I still prefer 4-string basses on vintage pre-1978 material.

 

The best case for Fender/Squier basses is the 2011 revision of the Fender hardshell case. See if you can talk down its price. It's from SKB I think (maybe TKL though), and is by far the sturdiest and best-balanced easy-to-carry PVC case ever.

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If you think she'll be challenged by a full-scale bass, you can go for a short-scale. In most cases the low "E" string won't have as much substance, but that might not matter if mostly plectrum-style playing is in the cards. I have TINY hands (smaller than most women's) and I have no trouble with long scale basses, but who knows...

 

Anyway, for short scales, you might try the Gretsch Jet Junior Bass or the Ephiphone Les Paul Junior Bass. They're pretty similar in looks and sound as well as feel. I've never been able to try them at the same time though, so it's hard for me to recommend one over the other. Different pickup configurations for sure though; the Epi is more versatile.

 

Either of those basses is more solid in build and feel as well as sound than the current crop of Beatles Basses, or the Epi Thunderbird Bass.

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The Squiers from the past two to three years are the ones to look for; quality control has been improved dramatically.

 

Specifically the Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe series, and some of the Squier Signature models.

 

I didn't need ANY setup work on my Squier Jaguar bass. More than can be said for my higher-end Fenders.

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Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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